It is still murder
One in 1,000 babies in the UK — about 750 a year — is born with Down’s syndrome. But with better screening, increasingly it is detected in the womb, and of those couples who receive an ante-natal diagnosis, 92 per cent choose to have a termination — that’s around 1,000 pregnancies a year, or three a day.
In addition, under the Abortion Act, termination of a baby with Down’s syndrome is a legal right up to the point of delivery.
Tim and I hugged, sobbed and talked till we were exhausted. How could we bring a child into the world knowing he would suffer and, given his host of serious health problems, would soon die?
A termination was the kindest option for our son but also the most agonising for us.
When the consultant broke the news that I would be given medication to trigger labour and deliver my baby naturally, initially it felt like more than I could cope with.
But the more I thought about it, I realised that I wanted to give birth to Oscar — Tim had suggested the name when we found out we were having a boy. It was a name we’d liked when I was expecting Delilah.
Although some people may find it strange, I also wanted to hold him, so I would know what he had looked like and feel I had been close to him.
Signing the consent form almost destroyed me and after I’d taken the medication we went home to wait for labour to begin.
I lay on the sofa and strapped a monitor to my tummy so that I could hear Oscar’s heartbeat and I willed him to move.
Incredibly, the night before I delivered him, I felt those first fluttery kicks inside me and dissolved into tears, relieved that I could feel my son, but distraught that I was about to lose him.
When 48 hours had passed and I hadn’t gone into labour, I was called back to the hospital. We drove there early on July 14. Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here played on the car radio and I remember thinking how sad and fitting the words were.
After being given more medication, I went into labour at 9am and delivered Oscar at 1.20pm. Tim and I were so in love with him and yet so impossibly sad.
We took photos as you would with any newborn. One friend told me recently that she couldn’t understand anyone wanting pictures of their dead baby.
But that’s because she’d never been in my situation, knowing that if I didn’t take photos then, I’d never have any of my son.
After an hour with Oscar we felt the time was right to let the midwives — who were also visibly upset — take him away. He was wrapped in a little blanket I’d made for him with a sailboat stitched onto it.
When we held a private funeral for him a few days later, he would be buried in that blanket, immersed in our love for ever.
When we got into the lift to leave the hospital that afternoon, by chance we ended up sharing it with a couple who had their gorgeous newborn in his car seat ready to make the journey home. Yet our own hands and hearts were empty.
I could go on in this vein, but I'll leave the last word to a master wordsmith- Mr. John C. Wright himself:
Since sex is ordered toward reproduction, anything that hinders it is an imperfection. Prudence, if nothing else, would warn potential mother and potential fathers not to do the act which makes you a mother or a father until you have a household and loving union ready to rear children.
If you are artificially sterile, or using contraception, you are holding back, you are not passionate about the sex, you are trying to use the sex rather than surrender to the sex.
You are trying to have sex without really having sex, and this alters your soul and body in countless subtle ways, and the woman knows it, and senses the mistrust, the misgivings, indeed, the fear — the nagging thought that the contraception might fail hangs across the passion and prevents total surrender to passion. And if she is using the pill, her hormones, the ones directly related to fertility, sex, sexual passion, and love have been interfered with. But even if she is not using the pill, she is using you and you are using her, trying to get the union of sex without the physical sex act and the physical results.
The only way to make the contraception infallible is to agree to hinder the sex act by killing the child once he is conceived but before he is born, an act so horrific and unthinkable — even the Spartans did not make the baby’s own mother toss the helpless baby into the pit of the Apothetae — that no more need be said of it. If you doubt me, I’d like you to imagine holding your beloved in your arms, and whispering tenderly in her ear as the erotic passion mounts, “I love you and adore you and after I make mad, passionate love to you, we will kill Junior. We will kill him together! The doctor will pierce his delicate skull with scissors, and vacuum up his wee little brains!” — I am guessing that will kill the mood.